What value do you put on the presence of the King? How much of your life both personal and church would carry on without Him? When was the last time you encountered Him? Heard from Him?
A Kingdom Culture is one that prioritises the Presence of the King. Jesus said, “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” This is not an individualistic promise, but a corporate one. What is added is Kingdom culture and blessing. But in order for that to happen we must seek the King and not the kingdom and it’s blessings as an end in itself, a mistake to easily made, a mistake that flows from thinking in a fallen way – what’s in it for me?
We must prioritise His Presence, be seekers of Him and those who encounter Him, after all Jesus never did anything except what he heard and saw the Father doing. It’s possible to go through all the motions of a church service/meeting, even charismatic ones, and have no expectation and never encounter God. We can sing songs about Him and what He’s done, we can even pray to Him and talk about Him, and yet never really encounter Him (the big danger for second and third generation Christians), we can even end up becoming passive observers. What expectation do you have when you gather with the saints, God’s holy ones? Is it just another meeting? A duty? A ritual? Are you just a watcher?
Probably the stand out person in scripture re seeking and knowing the Presence was King David. In the Psalms we see the depths of his longings and the heights of his encounters with the living God. God was dynamic reality to Him, the absolute delight of his soul. Encountering God was crucial to his very existence and service.
Stepping into the New testament we discover that the early church meetings were vividly alive with the presence of the King. He was there in their midst. The only explanation for the dynamic growth of the early church from very small beginnings is their pursuit of and realisation of the presence of the risen, all-conquering King. He wasn’t a distant object of belief, but a very present reality, living in them and walking among them.
If we are to seek the Presence of the King, we must prioritise Presence over procedure and professionalism. John Piper wrote a book “Brothers we are not Professionals”. The sad fact is it’s an easy mode to default to. We plan and prepare. We fill every minute we have. We pray for His blessing, ask for his will to be done, but do we listen, do we make space, can He break in and do what He wants? Yes, Paul says “let everything be done decently and in order,” but he didn’t intend that that should stifle the Presence and activity of the King, the head of the church.
One of the reasons we have revivals (and need revivals) in church history is because there has been the loss of something, a dying, a deadening. And every time a revival takes place it upsets the status quo, because suddenly God breaks in, the King has come! Meetings are not what they were, there’s an unpredictability, lives are disturbed, delivered, turned around, healed, set alight, communities changed.
Can we dare to imagine a scenario where we live in continuous revival? If so it means one where we prioritise and are continuously open to the Presence of the King and what he wants to do whenever we gather.
2 thoughts on “Building a Kingdom Culture 3 – A People who Prioritise Presence”
Very well put mini series Richard! Thank you for the share and all the insight with some strong reminders on what our cultural experience should actually be. I was wondering if there is something to be said about the various ‘origins’ of our values versus the origin of kingdom values? Personally I feel if I understood that better than I’d be much more sensitive to the latter! I’ll seek to learn more there but if you have any light to throw on that it’ll be most welcome!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for your kind comments Oseloka. My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I’ve been on holiday.
Certainly, that could all be explored in greater detail. At base, the origins of this world’s values would be the result of humanities fall and it’s corruption of all that God put into us in the first place. Secondly, there is a sense of common grace in which values are established in society for its proper function, by who and why those particular ones would be a good question. Thirdly, values take on distinctly ‘local’ or ‘national’ expressions of culture. I’ve also just read something on hidden rules that talks about the values that we have across different spheres of life, i.e. possessions, money, food, clothing education, time, language, love etc. and how they work out differently depending on our social background, poor, middle class or wealthy (would make a good discussion re Kingdom Culture) and how this could impact on our ability or inability to engage with different ‘classes’ with the gospel, and affect our ability to build the local church.